Giraffe Edition 23

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Behind The Scenes In Putin’s Court

Ben Judah | Newsweek | 23rd July 2014

Engrossing, intimate, stylised portrait of the Russian president — daily routine, entourage, travel, meetings, protocol. "There are no stories of extravagance: only of loneliness. The President has no family life. His mother is dead. So is his father. His wife suffered nervous disorders, and after a long separation, there has been a divorce. There are two daughters. But they are a state secret and no longer live in Russia" (3,060 words)

Medical Research: Treat Ageing

Luigi Fontana et al | Nature | 23rd July 2014

Does getting old have to mean getting sick? Not if medicine raises its game and learns to stall the "incremental cellular damage and changes" associated with old age. This would be more efficient and more effective that treating diseases of old age on a case by case basis as we do now. Progress in this direction would be much faster if we broke down the divide between human testing and animal testing (1,970 words)

How To Win A Tour De France Sprint

Bryce Dyer | New Statesman | 23rd July 2014

It's teamwork. You need a 'leadout train' of several riders. "The team’s designated sprinter is at the back of this train and is sheltered by the efforts of those riding in front to save his energy. With four cyclists riding in a line, a rider positioned four men back only has to produce 64 per cent of the power of the rider at the very front". The front runners peel off one by one, leaving the sprinter to win (1,100 words)


Jeremy Scahill & Ryan Devereaux | The Intercept | 23rd July 2014

Account of America's rules for adding names to its terrorist database, according to the newly leaked March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance. The basic standard is "reasonable suspicion" on the part of a government official. "Concrete facts are not necessary". Names can be added on the basis of "uncorroborated" social media posts. Family and "associates" of a suspect can be added without further formality. Dead suspects stay on the list (3,488 words)

Indonesia Etc

Misha Glenny | Guardian | 24th July 2014

Entertaining and informative review of Elizabeth Pisani's book, Indonesia Etc. How can a country of 13,500 to 17,000 islands — counts vary — possibly hold together as a state? Not easily, is the answer, especially since Indonesia's 260 million people are also divided by five religions, dozens of ethnicities and hundreds of languages. But somehow, the process of national and democratic consolidation continues (1,350 words)

The EU And An Independent Scotland

John Kerr | Centre For European Reform | 23rd July 2014

Claims that an independent Scotland could remain in the EU are "driven more by advocacy than analysis". There is "neither precedent nor treaty provision" for a member-state to split and for both parts to stay in. In any event, the question would take time to resolve. The priority for Edinburgh should be agreeing transitional arrangements to maintain EU status for Scottish citizens in any hiatus between leaving the UK and joining the EU (1,850 words)

Video of the day: How North Korea Got This Way

What to expect: Useful two-minute explaner

Thought for the day

"Blame is just a lazy person's way of making sense of chaos"
—  Douglas Coupland

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